Further Comments on Darul Uloom and Channel 4
The Channel 4 documentary has now been broadcast. It and many of the press reports confuse the Darul Uloom in Birmingham and the Mosque in Keighley. Just in case there is any uncertainty I condemn the treatment of children in the Keighley Mosque and support the Police's action in making an arrest in Yorkshire. (For the avoidance of doubt: This was not happening in the Birmingham School - later edit see comments)
However, Yorkshire is not Birmingham. It is Darul Uloom that is in my constituency.
One problem with Channel 4's approach is that they did not allow the management at Darul Uloom the opportunity to see the programme and identify who was claimed to have said what. This also includes uncertainty about translation. The management want to take some time to look at the details of this and investigate things. It would have been far better had this happened before the broadcast to give a balanced report.
- The programme repeats on numerous occasions the statements of a sixth former criticising Hindus. This is the most misleading part of the programme. The individual concerned was expelled from the school in August 2010 well before the management knew they were being bugged.
- The programme also makes a number of other comments about the mosque. I can deal with some of them now, but others will have to wait until a detailed investigation.
- The erstwhile deputy head of the school did make comments against integration, but he resigned in a mutual decision with the school, six months prior to his speech regarding integration, due to conflicts between his views and the school's. Hence his comments should not be held against the school.
- There has been a tendency in Birmingham from time to time for people to have patterned short haircuts. There was some degree of banter with the comments regarding haircuts in assembly about this as it does not fit with the school's policy. However, this is not about encouraging people to hate those people who shave in any event.
- A visiting speaker did make a reference to a historical speaker's criticism of those men who don't have beards, but it should be noted that perhaps 2/3rds of the congregation shave.
The mosque school do try to discourage their students from getting involved in the local street gang culture. I think also that is something where the mosque school are trying to do the right thing.
To me the key point about all of this is that the managment have a policy of not tolerating hate speech. They have enforced this policy. They enforced the policy because they wanted to not because they were pressurised to do so by being filmed.
To sum it up Darul Uloom are working towards a united society and have acted to expel extremists even involving the police to ban one individual from the premises. For this they should be congratulated not criticised. On the other hand Channel 4 have given them a kicking. That I think is unfair.